Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


The truth is out there: 05/12/2009

A weekly look at the world

*Jerusalem's Jews are increasingly insulting the city's Christians by spitting on them, according to the Jerusalem Post. The problem has lasted 20 years and appears to be on the rise. The targets of the mainly Haredi and National Orthodox Jews' attacks tend to be the conspicuous Christian clergy, some of whom said they had been spat on at least 15 times in the last six months. Israel's xenophobes target the forgiving Christians because they are afraid of Muslims, said a cleric.

*The Chinese declared Canada a state-approved tourist destination after a visit from Prime Minister Stephen Harper helped thaw relations between the two countries, reported China Daily. China has now officially approved more than 100 countries for organised tours and the country is soon expected to become the second biggest outbound tourist market. The US was only added to the official approved list after a memorandum was signed in 2007.

*More than $1,500 (£907) of marijuana has been donated to a charity shop in Ohio. Four bags of the illegal substance were found inside a jug bequeathed to the Marietta-based shop by an anonymous benefactor, said wsaz.com.

*As a delayed condolence letter to a dead soldier's family threatened to once again engulf Gordon Brown in controversy, across the Atlantic a woman filed a lawsuit against the federal government after a letter she sent to her son in Iraq was returned to her with a "deceased" stamp on the front. Joan Najbar, whose son is still alive, said the government and post office's negligence had caused her severe emotional distress.

*Obama pills – ecstasy tablets in the likeness of the American leader – were seized by police in Texas after the arrest of a man on a routine traffic stop, reported the Huffington Post. But the presidential pills have been denounced as nothing more than caffeine by anonymous internet testers, said the Los Angeles Times.

*Wind farms don't affect the price of property, according to a report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The study of 7,500 single-family houses found that neither the view of, or distance from, wind turbines has any consistent, measurable or significant effect on the selling prices of nearby homes, said Scientific American.

*Ahead of the Copenhagen summit, New Scientist this week issued a reminder that climate change begins at home, listing their top five eco crimes. Coffee, toilet paper, fast-moving fashion trends and sweatshop price tags, laundry and food wastage are among our most criminal decadences.

*Foreign Policy's list of 2009's top 100 global thinkers offered an American-centric worldview, giving top spot to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. Second place went to Barack Obama while Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of the defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and brains behind Iran's green revolution, came third. The Financial Times' Martin Wolf was the highest-ranking Briton in 15th place.